When Courage Dies

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When Courage Dies

Post by Conleth on Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:27 pm

For the next several months Kressara ran with her small band. Though Gowen was their leader she couldn’t help but feel a certain amount of possessiveness for them. They worked well together and had been instrumental in helping the Gondorian ground troops gain ground against their foes, the Haradrim. Her father’s peace that had existed for over a decade had eroded into an all out offensive that span all across the Harad northward into lands once held by Gondor. As of late though the Harad has given ground in the fierce fighting there and the forces of Gondor had pushed them back. In no small town part due to Kressara and her small band.

Havan sat up, his body was bathed in sweat as the nightmare slowly grew fainter in his mind. Next to him, he felt Kressara stir bit when he looked over she still
Slept. Havan’s ordeal had affected his mind long after his physical injuries had long since been healed. He had opted to stay in Gondor’s military and in that encampment but each time it came to him moving past their front picket lines he had turned back, unable to face the Haradrim again.

His friends didn’t treat him any differently but his loss of confidence had affected everything. His will to fight had left him and his relationship with Kressara had suffered more than he wanted to admit. It wasn’t anything she did or said, he knew she loved him and he her but his lack of confidence seemed to consume him at times and as a result he was not easy to deal with. Their arguments were quiet, harsh things usually caused by him saying or doing something that aggravated her. He was not himself most of the time and though everyone was patient with him, he was not so patient with everyone else.

He sat up and turned to put his feet on the floor. Sweat beaded on his face, forehead and neck and he brushed his damp hair back with his hands. He held his hands out in front of him and they trembled as he held them there a moment. He didn’t know Kressara had awakened and was watching him and saw his hands. He drew his hands into fists and planted them against his damp forehead in disgust. At himself, at his fear. The thought of facing what was out there and being left alone again terrified him and he doubted he would ever be able to put himself in harms way like that again.

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:09 pm

Kressara was patient with Havan. She knew she had to be. She could only imagine the horror he had been through and did what she could to help him get through it. She listened to him and was there when he needed her, but Havan was a changed man. He was irritable and often quite agitated. He suffered from nightmares and would lash out at those closest to him. Kressara loved Havan, but their relationship wasn’t the same as it had been and Kressara mourned its loss. She had not called off their engagement, but it had not moved forward either. No date had been set and it was not discussed between them.

As the months passed Kressara spent more time with Gowen and the rest of their group than she did Havan. She never said anything, but Gowen might sense her relationship with Havan was strained. Getting out into the field helped to take her mind off of Havan and she enjoyed spending time with Gowen. He was easy to talk to and they thought alike when it came to fighting. However, no line had been crossed beyond friendship...though she could sense something growing between them.

Kressara felt Havan stir beside her as they lay on their cot together. Slowly, she opened her eyes and she saw him sitting on the edge of the cot looking at his hands which were shaking. Quietly, she sat up and moved behind him. She slipped her arms around him and lightly kissed his neck.

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by Conleth on Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:28 pm

Havan stiffened and then melted back into her kisses. She had that effect upon him, sometimes. And he owed her so much for staying with him for so long. He didn’t feel as if he deserved such loyalty but he accepted it anyway.

“Another nightmare,” he said softly. He closed his eyes and let her scent, and the feel of her kisses force his fear away. “What am I going to do Kressara? I’m a mess, a husk, a shadow of who and what I was,” he said trying not to let his thoughts become agitated. It was so hard not to be but Kressara was helping by what she was doing.

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:44 pm

Kressara felt Havan stiffen at first and then slowly relax in her arms. He leaned back against her and she continued her soft kisses upon his neck. She listened to him and was quiet a moment before resting her head upon his shoulder.

"It has only been a few months. You are far too hard upon yourself Havan. It's going to take time. Look at how far you have already come since we found you. You once couldn't sleep at all and now your nightmares are only a few times a week. The body may heal quickly, but the mind takes time." She nuzzled her face into his neck and breathed in his scent. "But no matter what I will be here for you. I love you Havan."

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:17 am

“I know you do Kressara but I feel like I’m just holding you back. You have things to be about, important things. Certainly not playing nursemaid to me,” he said. It took real effort not to snap at her. He loved her so much it hurt and yet he wanted to lash out at her for being kind and understanding to him. He choked that down though and reached back to touch her leg. “I’m afraid...all the time Kressara. And each moment you aren’t out there fighting it means more soldiers dying. If I were…” He was going to say ‘gone’ but it had been a month and a half since he had tried to take his own life.

This war was not going to end anytime soon though Gondor’s forces had moved south due to Kressara and her team’s efforts. The Haradrim were using the attack and run tactics they were famous for however lately Kressara’s team had used that against them and that coupled with Gondor's 3 prong attacks were making a frontal assault deadly for the Haradrim.

A 3 prong attack was started off by pikemen who are backed up by bowmen. Once they softened the front lines their calvary ran in and pushed as far as they could. Then, the heavy infantry in armor with swords and shields. It was extremely effective against the Haradrim lighter forces.

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:20 pm

Listening to Havan broke Kressara's heart. She wasn't sure what else to do for him other than just being patient and understanding. However, he was right about one thing. The less time she spent out on the field because she was taking care of him the more soldiers that were dying. She felt guilty even thinking it, but it was true. Glancing over she could see the sun's first rays starting to appear over the horizon and she knew that she would need to leave soon. She had spent several days away from the fighting to be with Havan and she needed to return.

"I don't want to hear you ever say that again Havan," Kressara ordered when he suggested that things would be better if he were gone. She tightened her grip around him. "You are needed and loved. Not just by me but by your family. They write to you and you have not written back to them. They are worried about you because they love you. Write to them today...please. You don't have to tell them everything, but at least let them receive a letter from you. Promise me you'll do this."

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:36 pm

He turned to face her and looked into her large, beautiful eyes. He leaned into her and kissed her lips. “Alright, I will,” He whispered into her mouth and then shifted to draw her back onto her back…

A considerable amount of time later Kressara finally made it to the under officer’s tent. She knew they were planning another morning sortie and Gowen was there along with Yearly. They were looking over the most recent maps that their small band had a large hand in keeping up to date. Gowen looked up at her as she entered and his eyebrows rose as he looked up into her eyes. He saw her own avert his and he no longer wondered why she had been tardy this morning. He looked back down at the map though spots of color rose in his cheeks.

‘Stop it man! She’s betrothed! He thought but more and more, as they worked together and became better friends he felt that he was falling for her. He had tried to deny it and even tried to avoid her but that was impossible. He had wanted to say something to her last night but had refrained from doing so for fear that Havan needed her and he did not want guilt to play a role in their relationship...in whatever capacity that they actually ‘had’ a relationship. He felt he owed it to her though.

“I’m going to get a quick bite Gowen, we’ll be ready,” Yearly said and gave Kressara a nod as he departed. “I expected you an hour ago, is everything alright?” Gowen asked and straightened to look over at her.

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:54 pm

Kressara knew she was late and she rushed over to the officer's tent. She was never late, but this morning she couldn't help it. She and Havan hadn't made love since before he left on that mission and it had been something they both had needed. She ran her fingers through her hair, trying to fix it as best she could so she looked presentable before stepping inside. She glanced at Gowen as he looked up from the map table and found she couldn't hold his gaze. She looked away as complicated feelings rose up within her. What was wrong with her? Was it because Gowen was the kind of man Havan had once been? She considered Gowen to be a good friend. He was a man she trusted completely and with her life. He was a man she could easily talk to and laugh with. She sensed that he felt the same complicated feelings she did, but neither of them had spoken about it.

She looked over at Yearly and gave him a little smile as he departed the tent, leaving her alone with Gowen. There was a moment of uncomfortable silence between them before Gowen finally spoke. She walked over to the map table to look over a few things.

"Yes, everything's fine. Havan...he had another nightmare last night. I apologize for being late. It won't happen again."

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:09 pm

Gowen straightened and shifted around the table to stand close to her. He took a quick cursory glance around and then spoke in a softer tone.

“No, I know Havan is hurting Kressara. I asked if you are alright?” He said and reached up and caressed her cheek with the back of his fingers. It was a soft touch and he looked longingly onto her eyes just then. Gowen was completely aware how close she was to him now and his eyes were deep pools of blue that adored her. Kressara was quite beautiful with her long, dark hair and fair skin. He knew he had no right to press her, to...complicate her. But he couldn’t step back. Not now. Her cheek was warm to the touch though his fingers were warmer he thought. Proof of how she made him feel just being this close to her.

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:15 pm

Kressara sensed Gowen step closer to her and she slowly lifted her gaze up to look at him. She felt his fingers lightly caress her cheek and she couldn't help but gaze back into his eyes. His feelings for her were plain to see and he would see her own eyes reflecting back feelings for him. She didn't step away nor pull away from his touch. Tears slowly filled Kressara's eyes as her outer strength began to crumble.

"I'm..."

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:10 pm

Gowen sighed and then folded his arms around her and pressed her into him. He could tell that what was happening was a heavy strain upon her. She was worried for Havan. Worried that he might never recover. Gowen was as well, Havan was his friend but he couldn't deny his feelings.

“He’ll bounce back Kressara, he just needs a little more time,” He said reassuringly as he stroked the back of her head. He had bathed just that morning and had a clean, heady scent with hints of the desert wildflowers that sprouted here and there all around this area. He kissed her cheek and took in her scent. “We all just need more time,” he whispered and kissed her cheek again and took her face into his hands. He wiped a few tears that found her cheeks and looked once more into her eyes. “You’re not alone Kressara, you’re never alone,” He said softly and then leaned forward and ever so lightly, touched her lips with his and looked into her eyes again wondering and hoping that she’d kiss him back.

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:26 pm

Kressara leaned against Gowen as he took her into his strong arms. She felt comforted within them and just let him hold her. Being so close to him she breathed in his fresh, clean scent and she felt herself slipping further into her feelings for him. She knew she needed to stop this from going any further...but she didn't want to. She felt as if Havan was no longer hers. She had denied it to herself for months, but he wasn't the same man she had fallen in love with and never would be again. Gowen looked at her like Havan had before. She and Gowen had fought together, side by side, defending each other and in that time had grown close...though it had taken her a long time to finally realize it. But now, here it was...a chance for happiness again. It was standing right in front of her, looking deeply into her eyes.

Kressara felt herself begin to tremble with anticipation as Gowen kissed her cheeks. Her heart began to beat quicker in her chest and she felt her cheeks flush. As Gowen slowly leaned forward and ever so lightly touched her lips all thoughts of Havan slipped from her mind. Kressara looked back into Gowen's eyes before her eyes closed and her lips pressed against his...

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:35 pm

Gowen’s lips were soft and strong and he tasted like a tea flavored with cloudberries. He felt her tremble in his arms as they kissed one another and felt her hands grab hold of him as if she didn’t want to let him go. Gowen didn’t want to let her go either but he did...eventually. He held her for a while longer and then let her go and half turned toward the maps on the table next to them.

A deep voice cleared his throat from just outside and they both knew who that was. It was Forgus. Behind him Wick, Rikil and Yearly came into the tent. “So, did ya tell her?” Wick asked plainly as they came up to the table. Gowen winced and then gave Kressara a worried look. “I was going to get to it...when you all returned,” Gowen said smoothly though he had gotten caught up so much with Kressara it honestly had slipped his mind.

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:50 pm

Kressara wrapped her arms around Gowen as the kiss continued. It wasn't overly deep, but it wasn't weak either. It was...perfect. Kressara didn't want it to end. She wanted to remain in this moment forever. A moment where she didn't have to think about Havan, or make the choice that she knew she was going to have to make. She didn't know how much time had passed, but she eventually felt Gowen pull back. Neither one of them said anything as their eyes opened and they looked into one another's again. As Gowen released her she stepped back. It was then that she heard someone clearing his throat from just outside the tent. She knew immediately it was Forgus and she exchanged a quick glance with Gowen just before he, Wick, Rikil, and Yearly walked in. Her cheeks and lips were flushed, but there was little she could do about it now. She became worried that Forgus had seen them or that the others would suspect, but that worry faded away when Wick asked Gowen if he had "told her". She saw Gowen wince and quickly come up with an excuse, but Kressara's curiosity was now peaked.

"Tell me what?"

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Re: When Courage Dies

Post by Conleth on Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:50 am

ooc: new thread

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